Obesity increases risk of second heart attack

October 9, 2001 in Heart Health, Weight Management

Obesity increases risk of second heart attack

Overweight and obese individuals who have survived a first heart attack have a higher risk of suffering a subsequent attack than their leaner peers, a study from the University of Washington in Seattle reports.

The study included more than 2,500 patients aged 30 to 79 years who had suffered a heart attack. About 41% of patients were overweight, or had a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9, and 28% of patients were obese, with a BMI of at least 30.

Obese patients had a 49% increased risk of having a second heart attack and morbidly obese patients had an 80% higher risk than lean patients. The findings were true for women and men, smokers and non-smokers, and exercisers and patients who were mostly sedentary.

Complications of excess body weight, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, accounted for about 43% of the increased risk. Obesity may also raise the risk of inflammation--a risk factor for heart attack or blood clots.

These findings emphasize the need to address the excess body weight and the risk of heart attack.

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